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How to Fish in a Stream Pool

In stream fishing, 90 percent of the fish are found in 10 percent of the water. Here’s how to find out where that is.


A stream pool is the area of slow to moderate current, usually located below waterfalls, chutes or runs. Pools almost always hold the deepest water within a stream. This is one reason they are so attractive to fish. For a fish, deep water means safety. The pool’s head is the uppermost section of the pool. The pool’s tail is the downstream boundary, the place where the water stops running at a fast pace.


As current enters a pool, it carries organisms that offer trout and bass a steady food supply. The fish will station themselves at the pool’s head where they don’t have to move far in order to feed. The heads of pools almost always hold fish. Hot summer days are usually the best times to target them.


Another prime location is a pool’s tail. Here, the water moves slowly, and many fish station themselves at the tail in order to pick off any insect or small fish that is being carried downstream by the current. Early or late in the day, when the light is low, is usually the best time to fish a pool’s tail.

Remember to keep your movements and noise to a minimum. These fish spook easily.


Another important area is the pool’s main piece of cover. This might be a sunken log or an old tire. It could be a boulder in the deepest part of the pool. A prominent piece of cover not only gives fish a location from which to ambush their prey, but it also provides a comfortable place to rest and conserve energy. Find this important cover, and you’ve found the fish. Often, this spot will hold the largest fish within a pool. Once you learn to identify these key features, you’ll find yourself fishing pools with greater confidence and success.

Want to learn more about fishing streams? Try these books:

  • “Trout from Small Streams,” by Dave Hughes (Stackpole Books, 2003)
  • “Reading the Water: A Fly Fisher’s Handbook for Finding Trout in All Types of Water,” by Dave Hughes (Stackpole Books, 1988)
  • “Small Stream Bass,” by John Gifford (The Countryman Press, 2002)
  • “Fishing Rivers and Streams,” by Dick Sternberg (Creative Publishing International, 1990)

10 Comments on How to Fish in a Stream Pool

  1. fisherboss2.0 // February 11, 2015 at 11:22 am // Reply

    its really easy always give you rod a tug when tricking fish and when they are about to bite tug up real hard to hook them and reel real fast if your line gets real tight let some out and then reel back in.

  2. HappyCamper? // August 27, 2011 at 10:54 am // Reply

    just two days ago i got a largemouth bass !!!!!!!!

  3. That’s really great! I’ll fish at the tail next time.

  4. thank you so much, i really needed this information for my biology project!

  5. Apache fisher club // May 4, 2009 at 1:37 pm // Reply

    I already do this and i was just looking to see if i was right and let me tell you it works great! another way is to stand upstream and cast downstream and reel it in
    i catch alot of native trout that way

    • I live about a mile from a creek so i walk down there. my brother and his friend fish the same spot using worms with no luck. I go down to a part where the stream is ten feet wide with broken branches lined everywhere and walk home with the most fish using a soft plastic grub with single tail. (only sunfish though)

  6. its cool!

  7. sweet thanks

  8. i liked it [i didnt look at it].

  9. bestplayer52 // July 21, 2007 at 1:28 pm // Reply

    now i don’t have to spend forever trying to catch fish

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